Amusement Park Ride: Ups and Downs in Design

Type of Resource



Students design, build and test model roller coasters using foam tubing. The design process integrates energy concepts as they test and evaluate designs that address the task as an engineer would. The goal is for students to understand the basics of engineering design associated with kinetic and potential energy to build an optimal roller coaster. The marble starts with potential energy that is converted to kinetic energy as it moves along the track. The diameter of the loops that the marble tra

Performance Expectations

MS-PS3-2   Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.

MS-PS3-5   Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.

MS-ETS1-1   Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions

MS-ETS1-4   Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.